The Royal Hotel: Historic Sheffield pub closing because villagers in Dungworth 'aren't interested'

 “We made some really lovely friends and had some great times. But those people don’t come in now, or they’re dead.”
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A 210-year-old Sheffield pub is closing because villagers don’t come in, the landlord says.

Dave Lambert predicts residents in Dungworth will “moan and groan” at the loss of The Royal Hotel, which dates back to 1813.

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But just two regulars come in every night and six more visit up to twice a week, he said.

The Royal Hotel in Dungworth will close in 2024 after 210 years.The Royal Hotel in Dungworth will close in 2024 after 210 years.
The Royal Hotel in Dungworth will close in 2024 after 210 years.

The plan is to sell it after gaining residential planning permission, but whatever happened it would close by March 1.

Mr Lambert, aged 75, said: “I have had enough, it’s never made any money. Villagers will moan and groan about it closing but they don’t come in. If we tried to sell it as a pub we would get half a crown. Things have changed, the people who come to live in this village now are not interested.”

Pubs were undercut by supermarkets and fewer young people drank, he added.

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The Royal is a bed and breakfast, with three bedrooms in a bungalow to the rear. Mr Lambert said he also built a house adjacent in 2006. Including the pub, he reckoned they would fetch about £1.1m.

“It’s a beautiful spot with views down the Loxley Valley.”

Mr Lambert, his wife Linda, and stepson Dave Jubb took it on 25 years ago. When Dave married Jo the four ran it together. Linda died last year.

Mr Lambert said the pub was a way of life and they organised trips to Prague, Venice and Spain with locals.

He added: “We made some really lovely friends and had some great times. But those people don’t come in now, or they’re dead.”

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The Royal has hosted Christmas carols for 200 years, with people attending from across the world. But the last one ever is on Boxing Day, he added. 

A packed Royal Hotel at Dungworth, singing carols on December 16 2001. Pic Barry Richardson.A packed Royal Hotel at Dungworth, singing carols on December 16 2001. Pic Barry Richardson.
A packed Royal Hotel at Dungworth, singing carols on December 16 2001. Pic Barry Richardson.

It has also been home to folk club Royal Traditions for 14 years.

In an email, founder Jon Boden said he hoped the community could buy it.

He wrote: “I'm totally gutted that Dave and Jo are closing the pub. They've kept it going in difficult circumstances for 25 years and I think all of us who have enjoyed the hospitality of The Royal over the years owe them a big debt of gratitude.

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“But I (and many others) are not ready to give up on The Royal quite yet. There are many examples of community buy-outs of local pubs. 

“The difficulty with The Royal is it comprises existing residential property so is likely to sell for a great deal more than other similar pubs. On the other hand it has the great advantage of The Carols and we are hopeful if we can tap into that broader community it might just be possible to raise enough capital through a Community Interest Company to buy the pub.”